Power utility Eskom, during its daily load shedding update on Wednesday, says that despite the progress of some generation units returning to service, the country will remain on Stage 4 of load shedding and the rolling blackouts will continue at least until the start of the weekend.
According to the state-owned enterprise, it is seeing planned capacity outages amount to 5 787 megawatts (MW), while total unplanned outages sit at 15 147 MW – this comprises of full load losses of 10 472 MW and partial load losses of 4 675 MW.
Although this is an improvement from Tuesday’s figure’s, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter acknowledges that this is not enough to end the current round of power cuts. However, it is possible that the country may move to Stage 3 come Thursday.
“We are expecting a number of large units to return during the course of tomorrow and if those units stay online and if they perform as expected, then we should be able to consider lifting load shedding entirely by the start of the weekend,” De Ruyter says.
As of this morning, Eskom says it has lost a unit at Majuba power station due to a boiler tube leak, as well as another unit at Arnot power station which tripped.
The utility saw a return to service of two units at Lethabo power station while Camden also saw a unit return, as did Matla power station.
“The units are coming back, we are again putting in every effort that we can, to reduce load shedding as soon as we can.”
“Again, we wish to issue an apology to the country for the load shedding that we unavoidably have to impose in order to prevent the much greater inconvenience and risk of a total system blackout,” De Ruyter says.
Total blackout not a risk
Eskom says despite the latest intensification of power cuts in the country, a total system blackout remains off the cards. According to De Ruyter Eskom’s assessment is that its systems still have enough headroom to avoid a total blackout.
Eskom’s chief executive for transmission Segomoco Scheepers adds: “As we speak with Stage 4, we are reasonably comfortable that the system is in balance, the recovery plans have been spoken about in terms of the units that are coming back online.”
“Therefore, we are not particularly concerned about this risk, but it’s something that is always top of mind for the system operator to make sure that every second they are doing what is necessary to maintain balance in the system.”